The year-long celebrations to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand were inaugurated 0n 11th January 2013 in New Delhi by a massive ‘Shobha Yatra’ (Celebratory March) in which more than 15,000 persons belonging to various walls of life participated. Acharya Lokesh Muni, Swami Rithambharananda, Dr Pranav Pandya, head of Gayatri Pariwar, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, President of Vivekananda Kendra P Parameswaran, RSS Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat and Dr Subhash Kashyap, former Secretary-General, Lok Sabha, Pramilatai Medhe of Rashtra Sevika Samiti were present on this occasion. As of now (7 January 2013) 9,416 Programs were organised in 874 districts with participation of 6,97,248 people.
On 20 May 2010 The Government of India formed National Committee for commemoration of 150th BirthAnniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Through this committee, the Government distributed funds of about 200 Crores Rs. to various institutions and NGO’s.The inaugural function of Swamiji’s 150th birth anniversary celebration was organized by Ministry of Cultureat Rashtrapati Bhavan, on 12 January 2013. Sri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, and many other dignitaries attended and addressed the gathering. Coins of Rs. 5 and Rs. 150 and four postage stamps were released on the occasion.Sri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission’s celebration of Swamiji’s 150th Birth Anniversary at Swamiji’s Ancestral House, Kolkata, on 18 January 2013.
As part of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations an exhibition showcasing ancient Indian civilization was organized by SV150 National Committee at 33 places in the United Kingdom. The exhibition was visited by over 13000 visitors from the Indian community and Britons. Mayors, MPs and Councilors too visited the exhibition and participated in the interactive programs. Besides, members of Nepali, Sikh, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi speaking people also participated. Bishop of Shrewsbury Church too visited the display. The exhibition provided an accurate portrayal of the rich Indian culture and heritage displaying 30 posters on Indian civilization and 42 on Swami Vivekananda’s life and mission.
Ramakrishna Mission implemented four main programs in the year.Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa for all-round development of children in poor and backward areas. Running 174 units in 23 states, benefiting 17,500 children.Vivekananda Swasthya Parisheva Prakalpa for improvement of health of poor children through elimination of malnutrition, immunization of babies, etc. Running 126 units in 22 states, benefiting 13,000 children.Sarada Palli Vikas Prakalpa for educational development and self-empowerment of rural women in ten villages. Running 10 units in 8 states, benefiting 1619 women.Akhandananda Seva Prakalpa for elimination of severe poverty from 10 selected pockets in rural and urban areas. Running 10 units in 6 states, benefiting 1135 people.
In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee declared holiday on 12 January, the birth day of Swami Vivekananda.Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) launched two trams: (1) Vivek Tirtha, an exhibition tram displaying letters, pictures, speeches and biography of Swamiji, and, (2) Parivrajak a passenger tram decorated with the pictures and quotations of Swamiji.
Suryanamaskar Yagna was organized in the year of Swami Vivekanand 150 birth anniversary on 18th February 2013 all over India. Hundreds of thousands of students and youth participated at various places throughout the country. Surya namaskar is a unique and complete traditional Indian exercise which is gaining popularity in west also.
Bharat Jago Daud, as part of Swami Vivekananda Sardha Shati Samaroh, was organized all over India to pay tribute to the great spiritual guru Swami Vivekananda, and to inculcate the spirit of one people one nation. With the slogans of “Kashmir se Kanyakumari Bharat Mata Ek Hamari”, “Vandemataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, lakhs of people participated in this event.
A two-day national conference of Vice Chancellors on ‘Swami Vivekananda on Education – Vision for National Resurgence’ was organized on 16 & 17 November 2013 in New Delhi. This was attended by Vice-Chancellors, Chancellors and Directors of Central, State, deemed and private universities and various renowned educationists. Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju, Dr. Subhash Kashyap, Dr. Pranav Pandya, Nivedita Bhide, Sacchidanand Joshi , Prof. Thimme Gowda, Swami Atmapriyananda, Prof. Harshadbhai Shah, Dr. Meena Chandawarkar, Dr. Venkat Rangan, Dr. A. K. Singh, Dr. M. K. Shridhar, Leena Mehendale, Dr. Joram Begi, Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, and Dr. D. P. Lokwani were some of the the prominent participants.
In addition to HSS, a number of other Hindu organizations including Sewa International USA, Samskrita Bharati, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, America, and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation conducted many programs to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary. These programs included a laser light show on Swami Vivekananda’s life. “Vivekananda Abhiyaanam 150” by Samskrita Bharti to The spread awareness about Samskrita language. VHPA organized “World without Borders,” in Chicago. The event was attended by Yoga Rishi Swami Ramdev, Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, Stephen Knapp, Jeffrey Armstrong, and Dr. Rajiv Malhotra among others.
HSS organized a nation-wide quiz contest called “Dharma Bee: Sri Krishna-Vivekananda Challenge” for the children based on life of Sri Krishna and Swami Vivekananda. Across the country, 3,306 children from 629 cities participated in this contest held on Jan 12. Prizes totaling $50,000 were distributed to winners at all levels. Overall, Dharma Bee was a rousing success. It helped in building children’s intellectual knowledge about Dharma, and inspired them to practice the teachings of Swami ji and Sri Krishna in their own lives. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Swami Ishatmananda of the Vedanta Society graced the prize distribution function.
Vivekananda Chair has been established in the University of Chicago for which a Corpus of US Dollar 1.5 Million has been provided by the Ministry of Culture of India. A Plaque with an image of Swami Vivekananda was also installed in the premises of Art Institute of Chicago, the place where he first delivered his famous Chicago address during the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. Beginning in 2013, the “Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professorship” will be awarded to distinguished scholars from various disciplines with an interest in the fields of study most relevant to the teachings of the swami, such as Indian philosophy, politics, and social movements.
The SV150 celebrations concluded with grand Dharma and Yoga Fest (DYF) programs, held in 26 cities, to commemorate Swami ji’s groundbreaking address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago on September 11, 1893. Over 28,000 people participated in these programs. Influential speakers at the event included Puttige Mutt Swamiji H.H. Shri Sugunendra Teerth, Yoga Rishi Swami Baba Ramdev, and Dr. David Frawley. A unique aspect of this program was active involvement from Hindus of non-Indian origin. HSS reached out to yoga studios, vegan restaurants, kirtan groups, Buddhist temples, etc. for their participation; DYF truly succeeded in bringing together Dharma followers of all backgrounds.